Saturday, October 17, 2009

A trip down the coast

Penelope has been for her 30-day tweaking, and it was a gorgeous drive down the coast to Thirroul yesterday. It took about 90 minutes each way. It's doable by train, and you can take your bike on the train, but it's a good two and a half hours each way from where we live... so maybe something to do another time when we are feeling less pressured and not skiving a day off work.

But the view below, from a lookout near Austinmer, was enough to relax us. Heavenly! You can see it was a bit windy - there are tons of white horses on the beach. With a cool south wind blowing nobody was in swimming anywhere we passed despite it being school holidays here.
Here's Penelope on her rack down at Austinmer beach, where we stopped to breathe in gulps of salty air.
The villages between Sydney and Wollongong offer you the opportunity to step back in time. Yes, there are lots of modern houses but lots of charming old ones too, and commercial and public buildings like these two. Here is a theatre in Thirroul which has been put to good use as commercial premises, keeping its intriguing art deco meets Tudor exterior. This area was a popular holiday spot in the first half of the 20th century. still is! Although these days it's more an extended suburb of Wollongong.
Every little town had its School of Arts back in the day, and this sweet wee one is at Clifton. Here's where ladies practiced flower arranging, art exhibitions were held, and generally the School of Arts was a focus of life in the village.
And finally, the new Sea Gate Bridge at Coalcliff, completed in 2005. The road used to run alongside the cliff, but a landslide in 2003 washed the road away and essentially cut off half the villages from using the coast road - they had to backtrack inland to get from one town to another. Read more about this bridge and see some stunning pics here. It's a remarkable drive - you are held up on pillars high above the ocean.

After all that, Penelope had some minor tweaks, tightenings and adjustments done. I did an adjustment myself today (my middle name is now Spanner) with the saddle, moving it on its runners so it sits further forward. I was finding I was riding on the front rather than the seat; I have short arms and legs. A test ride this afternoon proved much more comfortable.

I also swapped the bolt that adjusts the seat post height for an adjustable one from my MTB. This may sound terribly girly, but it means I can adjust the saddle height now for maximum comfort for each pair of shoes I choose to ride in. Ahh-!!! I found riding in my Colorado clogs a different and uncomfortable experience than riding in my Geox flats, for instance. Mmm, I love tinkering!


  1. How funny to see the Princess strapped onto the bike rack! She must have been a sight for the people looking out of other cars!

  2. Yes... I kept looking behind me to check she was still there :-). I have this funny feeling she should be strapped to a Rolls Royce or something posher instead :-))